Free business idea: parallel LED Christmas lights
When I was a kid, Christmas* lights were big. Exclusively. One huge advantage of those big ones was that they were shrunken versions of the 120V lights around the rest of your house, so they were wired in parallel on the strings. This meant that when they burned out, they didn’t affect each other at all. You found the dead ones and replaced them.
The little lights came later, but as we all know, they came with a huge downside: since they are wired in series, if one burns out, a whole segment of the string goes down with it. Maybe all of them. You can either spend hours swapping each bulb out with one you hope is good, or trash them. If two are dead, you’re basically fucked, since the number of bulbs you have to swap grows combinatorially.
Recently, the rage is LED bulbs. They last longer, use less power, and are prettier in some people’s opinions. But they are still low voltage devices, still wired in series like the old school ones. If one fails to a short, you lose the voltage drop and the other ones burn more brightly for a brief period before they start to fail in cascade. And if one fails to an open, you’re still stuck with the possibly combinatorial exercise in bulb swapping. Either way, it’s in the landfill, now with a bunch of increasingly hard-to-find rare earth elements as part of the deal.
Solution: add, at nominal cost, a low voltage DC power supply to the head of the chain and wire the LEDs in parallel just like the old school giant bulbs. For the cost of a rectifier, a voltage regulator, a capacitor, and a small transformer, you make maintenance trivial and guarantee these bulb strings will last forever.
I’d pay $5 more for that chain; wouldn’t you?
* choose the winter solstice holiday you like